Israel has launched a military operation to destroy Iranian-supported Hezbollah attack tunnels at the border.
The operation at the northern border with Lebanon is called Operation Northern Shield.
"That operation is aimed to expose and to destroy cross-border attack tunnels the terrorist organization Hezbollah has been digging from within civilian houses in Lebanon into Israel, violating Israeli sovereignty as well as UN resolution 1701," IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said.
According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon, Hezbollah is a terrorist organization under Iran.
The operation has been planned for more than a year.
“Anyone who tries to harm the State of Israel will pay a heavy price,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Previously, the military had said that tunnels could not be dug at the northern border, but residents of northern Israel reported they have heard drilling and knocking sounds underground for years.
The IDF says it has located a tunnel in Kfar Kela at the Lebanese border. The tunnel is 656 feet long with about 131 feet stretching into Israel.
According to the IDF, the tunnel is 82 feet below ground and measures 6 ½ feet tall and 6 ½ feet wide.
"I said this many times. Hamas, if we are comparing it to Hezbollah, is like a kindergarten, while Hezbollah is the university of the tunnels," said reserve Col. Atai Shelach, former commander of the unit in charge of destroying the tunnels. "Hamas uses the tunnels for tactical operations. Hezbollah uses the tunnels for strategic operations, and it’s a big difference."
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Amir Levy/Stringer